living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!

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This “TWO” Shall Pass

“This too shall pass.”  I heard my dad say it a thousand times when I found myself in an undesirable situation.  Such simple yet profound words.  His matter-of-fact adage has helped me many a time to press on through the disappointments and challenges of life.

Now I find myself the mother to seven children, three of whom are currently toddlers…they are 3, 2, and 1. And amidst the exhaustion of constant training and disciplining and thinking, “Why on earth would you do that???!!!!” my father’s words ring in my mind…just with a slight change in spelling: “This TWO shall pass.” They will not be rambunctious toddlers trapped in their “terrible two’s” forever. But what do I do with them in the meantime?

There are many wonderful Christian parenting books available, but I’ve come across one recently that has helped me immeasurably, especially with my toddlers. It’s Raising Godly Tomatoes by L. Elizabeth Krueger, homeschooling mother of 10 children. I’d like to share a little with you about this book and how it has helped me, but let me preface this by saying that the tools offered, however Biblically-based, will be ineffectual for you if you are not filled with the Holy Spirit and guided by His wisdom; and that comes by abiding in the Eternal Vine through prayer and Bible reading. If you have not taken time today to read your Bible, I’d respectfully recommend that you spend your time, not in WordPress, but in the Word!!Image result for tomato staked

Here is an excerpt that summarizes Krueger’s message:

“Every gardener knows what I mean by ‘tomato staking.’ A tomato plant grows fast, big, and wild. If left unattended, it soon sprawls out into an unwieldy heap. As the fruit grows, it weighs the plant down to the ground. Propping by this time is too late. Any attempt to retrain and redirect the growth of the branches will result in breakage and substantial loss of fruit due to rot, disease, and pests.”

The converse, then, is what the author calls “Tomato Staking.” The Bible show us that we can learn many valuable life lessons from the world of gardening. This is one such analogy. Kruegger continues to make the point that the way to “stake our tomatoes” and sufficiently guide, train, and correct them is to be with or near them pretty much all the time. Toddlers should be in close range as often as possible. Older kids should be in a place where parents can keep tabs on them and recognize if an attitude problem is taking root. As they earn trust, they earn freedom. When there’s a problem, you bring them closer. Obviously, in a 258 page book, there’s much more to it than that, but I believe this summarizes the gist of the book.

I’ve made some changes in our daily flow as a result of reading this book, and these alterations have made a huge difference!!! One of the main changes is this: I used to have one of my bigger kids supervise my two toddlers in their bedroom where they were out of my sight and mostly out of hearing range. This breeded a lot of problems. Now I’ve made an effort to come up with activities that they can enjoy in the living room or dining room while I’m homeschooling, still with the involvement of the older kids. I also try to have my toddlers working Image result for tomato stakedwith me more while I’m cleaning or putting away laundry, etc. It can be tiring to include them in the work, but not any more tiring than dealing with the huge messes or fights that result from a lack of supervision. And the benefit is that the home is much more peaceful. It is a more productive exhaustion!

I’ve also made some changes with my older kids. If I hear that they are having trouble getting along, for example, they will need to bring their school work to the dining room table instead of the classroom where I can observe and interact with them more.  Once I can see that their hearts are joyful and cooperative again, they may return to the classroom.  It is not a punishment, per se.  On the contrary, as long as my own attitude is encouraging and not harsh, these ‘tomato staking’ occasions have been an enjoyable time for me and the kids.

This book opened my eyes to some areas in which my kids were demonstrating subtle defiance, and I hadn’t even recognized it! Within one day of “staking my tomatoes,” I was achieving quicker obedience with my toddlers, and after a few weeks of pulling my older kids closer when they were struggling rather than addressing problems from another room or sending them to their rooms, we have a noticeably more harmonious home. Everyone is happier!!

Kruegger covers almost every imaginable scenerio with various solutions for the situation, and she accompanies every single subtopic with Scripture. While this book is perhaps a little longer than some parenting books, I believe it is worth your time to read it.Indian Lakes 221_

Stake your tomatoes now, and enjoy the rich fruit for the rest of your lives!!

God bless you on your journey.


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Letters, Lists and Love Notes

roses Ps.28.7

Some of us ladies have the “list maker” built into us… groceries, ideas, various notes to remember, things to do, schedules, event reminders, etc. Hopefully, your lists do not hide from you when you need them as mine sometimes do. =) 

Fact: If I want to remember something, I must write it down. If I am to remember where I write it down, it must be in sight or in a place I always frequent. Why? I want to remember.

Some of us have the “pack rat” gene that savors every sentiment… coloring pages or sermon notes drawn by the hands of my children, gifts people have blessed me with, special church bulletins, mementos of places we’ve been, photos of captured memories, notes and cards from people who took the time to write us, etc.

Fact: The papers I keep are not important – the people behind the papers are. If I lose the papers, I will be sad because I know I will forget some things, but the relationship with the people who penned the papers is the real treasure.Why? I value relationship.

When we get love notes from our husbands, meaningful cards from our children, or timely words from a friend, we tend to reread them over and over – the blessing doesn’t stop with one reading. We may even tuck it in our Bibles where we see it often or maybe set it in a visible place for a time. Why? To remember.

What a sweet thought to know God has written us a Book of love notes, letters and lists – that will never be lost or consumed – His Words to us last forever.

We can live fruitful lives as women if we meditate on His Words day and night. “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth the fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”-Psalm 1:2-3

How can we meditate day and night on God’s Words to us? We can read them – systematically is helpful. We can tuck them in our hearts where they will stay. We can write them – index cards, ♥post-it notes♥, notebook paper, etc… We can journal His voice to us. We can pray God’s Words, speak them, and sing them. We can strategically place them where we will see them frequently. We can simply print them. We can create beautiful displays of them in our homes.

I do not want the letters, lists and love notes from God to be “out of sight – out of mind.” When I display or write God’s Word, it helps me to remember His Words. Remembering Scripture helps me to live in the power of the Holy Spirit which is the only way to live fruitfully.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

We can give God’s Words. We can speak the Gospel Truth which gives Life through the blood of Jesus Christ. We can teach His Truth to help others grow in their walk with God.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” -Proverbs 11:30

How much of God’s Letters, Lists and Love Notes will the people we have relationships with remember because of our fruit? Our husbands, our children, our family and friends? Let’s resolve to grow as a fruitful tree in our walk with God and actively share His Word in the ways He leads us to do so. What are some ways I can improve in this area?

My List ”

~ Journal my quiet time with God more consistently.

~Write verses on index cards that I want to memorize.

~Stick post-it-notes of God’s promises inside cabinets, closets…

~Share verses in correspondence.

~Choose specific verses to pray for my husband and children.

~Place a decoratively designed verse in each room of the house.

~Give out Gospel literature.

~Write melodies to Scripture for easy memorization.

We would love to hear how you remember Scripture and how you help others remember God’s Letters, Lists and Love Notes.

Jeri Lynn

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Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

The other day, I got the book Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. It was wonderful! Beginning to end, I was helped and encouraged, double-tapping on my Kindle Fire to highlight all the things I wanted to remember!


{Disclaimer alert!} As always, there will be things in a book I do not agree with. Is that not true of most books? Even true of conversations with your closest friends? 🙂

Sarah Mae is a mom like you and me. She home schools. She has three young ones. She is where I am in my life. Her part in writing the book was to say, “I understand!”

Sally Clarkson is an older woman, who has already raised her children. And they have “turned out.” Her part was to say, “I have been there. Here is how I handled that.”

It has so many wonderful ideas, I could write forever!

But this is one idea from the book, that I want to leave with you.

You are the mom God wants your children to have! He wants to help you raise your children. It’s easy to get side-tracked with others’ voices. Grandma says, “Let them sleep on their tummy.” The pediatrician says, “Never their tummy.”

Some books will encourage you to spank for every offense. Others will say you should only spank in extreme cases.

Your mother and mother-in-law disagree on when to start solid foods.

A friend may say, “You should always tell your children they are beautiful.” Another friend says, “You shouldn’t tell them they are beautiful; they will grow up vain and conceited.”

So many voices!

So, get in God’s Word, become more like Him. Listen to His heart and learn of Him. He will be the voice to actually help you raise your children! Sometimes you need good advice, and sometimes you need ideas on how to handle a difficult stage with your children. But ultimately, you are their mother. God made it that way! Listen to Him. He is the best parent ever!

So, get the book… and be encouraged!

❤ Joy

Click here for the review on my personal blog.

Click here for the Desperate Mom website.